An excerpt from Francesca’s diary...
After lunch we visited Parma and its historical city center. First we visited the Palazzo della Pilotta, the name comes from the game of pelota, once played by Spanish soldiers in the courtyard originally named pelota. To make the name in Italian, an additional ‘T’ is added to make the name Pilotta.
Then we visited the Farnese Theatre, a structure built in the 1600s by Giovanni Battista Aleotti. During the Second World War it was almost destroyed by an Allied air raid. It was then rebuilt and reopened in 1962.
Then we tried to visit the Regio Theatre but we couldn’t go inside because of the rehearsals taking place for Tosca’s premiere that took place at the end of last month. It was in this theatre that Paganini, the most celebrated violin virtuoso’s of his time, played his music. He was the person that first invented the role of Artistic Director, before him, it was given to the first violinist.
The Cathedral and the Baptistery of the city were next on our list. The Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta (Photo 13-15 ) is the most important place of Catholic worship in Parma. It is situated in Piazza Duomo, near the Baptistery and the Palazzo Vescovile. The Cathedral is an important Italian Romanesque cathedral, in particular the dome is decorated with renaissance influences. The interior has a Latin cross, with a nave and two aisles divided by pilasters. The presbytery and the transept are elevated, to allow space for the underlying crypt.
The Baptistery is a building for the baptismal rite and it’s considered as the junction between Romanesque and Gothic architecture. The exterior, built in pink Verona marble, is octagonal, which is the symbol of eternity. The upper part is currently under reconstruction because of a small earthquake that occurred in the previous months. (Photo 16-17)
In the late evening we went to Reggio Emilia, on the heart of Canossa Lands and we visited an “Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale Emilia DOP” and we had dinner with traditional Aceto Balsamico and Lambrusco’s wine.